The Ph.D. program is comprised of four blocks of study:
- Block 1: Community Engagement core (15 credit hours);
- Block 2: Research and Practicum core (18 credit hours);
- Block 3: Proseminars/Electives (choose 6 credit hours) and;
- Block 4: Dissertation core (15 credit hours).
The following options can help you afford your Ph.D.:
Learn more about tuition and fees.
* With its already affordable cost, the Ph.D. program is not eligible for tuition discount programs.
What the Ph.D. in community engagement program offers:
- Gain a broad understanding of public policy, program development, community psychology and best practices in leadership and engagement.
- Be prepared to conduct research and build partnerships with civic, business and community organizations.
- In this unique social lab, engage with communities as part of the coursework.
- Work with the Luma Institute, using human-centered design thinking for the greater good.
- Be part of a small student cohort from diverse sectors.
Upon completion of your Ph.D. in community engagement, you will be able to:
- Explore sociological, business, communication and environmental factors that contribute to a community’s success.
- Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical leadership principles to community-based issues.
- Demonstrate the ability to utilize public policy to bring about social change.
- Develop and evaluate programs for use in business, government or nonprofit sectors.
- Explore the psychological and sociological factors that impact communities.
- Utilize theory and research to guide community change and progress.
In this active doctoral program, work closely with community partners on research and hands-on projects. Examples of the partners and projects our doctoral students have worked with include:
- Allegheny Conference on Community Development
- Allegheny County
- City of Pittsburgh
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Luma Institute
- POISE Foundation
- 2020 Census
- Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification
- Courageous Conversations Speaker and Service Series
- Point Park Pioneer Pantry
- Wood Street Communications
Research in Action
Take a look at our three-year program schedule. Courses in the Ph.D. program run year-round and are divided into eight-week sessions. Students will typically take one course each eight weeks, earning you 18 credits per year for a total of 54 credits.
Most courses are offered in the evening, allowing working professionals to balance family, personal and career commitments while finishing all required courses - as well as a dissertation - in three to four years, depending on timing of dissertation work.
Residency is met by completing three consecutive semesters of study in the program with a minimum of six hours of course work per semester. Summer, fall and spring semesters are counted toward residency.
Video: Virtual Open House
Who Should Apply
Individuals in leadership positions, in particular nonprofit leaders, social change activists and people involved in the national service-learning movement.
Tom Higgins, assistant director of graduate admission
Robert Ross, Ph.D., graduate director